Depression in dogs, as I mentioned in one of my previous articles, is most often triggered by a number of events, including the loss of a dog’s primary caregiver, change to a new home environment, and at times even physical illness. It can also be triggered by a major change in a dog’s day-to-day life such as changes to their diet or exercise schedule.
Dog depression is indeed a very serious health problem for dogs. Some of the signs of depression in dogs are easily noticeable while others are less visible. These symptoms can be hard to detect, but they can also be painful and even life-threatening to your dog if ignored.
So, how do you know if your dog is struggling with depression? In this article, we take a look at 10 different signs of depression in dogs.
1. Loss of Appetite
Loss of appetite is a common symptom of depression in dogs. As a result, many depressed dogs are found to have lost weight. Dogs may also lose their appetite because they don’t derive any enjoyment from food like they normally would. Depression in dogs therefore can create a vicious cycle. If your dog gets sick, loses weight, and becomes depressed, the low energy levels can lead to further illness and weight loss. We assume that they want to eat, look forward to their daily meals, but they just lack the motivation or the appetite to eat properly.
Dogs that are feeling down and depressed will often become aggressive in an attempt to protect themselves from the world around them. They may lash out at their owner, other dogs, or even children in an effort to protect themselves from what they feel is a harmful situation. You’ll notice this most often when you try to pet your dog. If they normally love attention but suddenly start getting aggressive whenever you come near them, it’s a strong sign that your dog may be suffering from depression and anxiety.
3. Change In Activity Level
Depression can lead to a change in activity level where your pup may either slow down or not move at all from one place for some time. Depressive dogs will tend to become less active and more difficult to get going. Your dog may seem to lack motivation or energy and could be slow to respond to your commands. Instead of behaving like an energetic pup, your dog may just sit around doing nothing. If you try playing with your pup or taking her out for walks but she seems less responsive than she should be, it could be a sign of depression.
4. Being Destructive
Dogs who are depressed will often be destructive by chewing furniture and shoes and they may even self-harm. If your dog is destroying things or causing injury to himself, it’s a strong indication that they may be depressed. If your dog is chewing on something and it lasts beyond one day, this is a sign of depression. You’ll need to seek veterinary assistance if you notice any signs of self-harm in your pup.
5. Sleep Changes
Depressed dogs will often sleep much more than other dogs. They may sleep all day long every day and refuse to leave the bed if you try getting them up. When you wake them up they may appear lethargic or even sedated for long periods of time whether it’s the middle of the night or during the day. On the flip side, some depressed dogs will experience the opposite problem. They become so agitated and anxious that they tend to sleep less than they normally would. If you try waking your dog up but he seems very drowsy and lethargic, it’s a sure sign that your dog is going through depression.
6. Unwillingness to Play
Depressed dogs often lose interest in things that they usually enjoy such as chasing squirrels or just hanging out with their owners. Instead, they will usually choose to stay at home and spend time alone rather than go outside and interact with other dogs or people. Well, I know when you usually play with your dog, her happy mood often gets restored and she will be in the mood to play again. But when you’re dealing with a depressed dog, she might seem like she doesn’t really want to play and only shows interest when it’s time to rest and go back to bed. If your dog seems unwilling or unwilling to interact with you in any way at all, then it’s a sign that your dog is depressed.
You might also be interested in 10 Scientific Ways to Treat Dog Depression
7. Wetting Indoors
Dogs who are depressed may begin urinating indoors. This is often because they feel comfortable or secure in their own homes and don’t want to go outside. As a result, your dog will simply use the bathroom where they are at the time as a result of feeling confined and safe inside. If your dog has always been clean but now begins using the bathroom inside without good reason, it’s a sign that your pooch is depressed.
8. Lowered Defecation
While your dog is not in the mood to defecate when she normally would, this is a sign of depression. Depressed dogs will often stop going completely and may only defecate when they really have to. If you notice that your dog stops going for a day or two, it’s a sign that your pooch is depressed.
9. Dismissing Commands
Depressed dogs will often become less responsive to commands. They may even appear confused by what you are asking them to do. While your dog may have always been obedient before, she will now refuse to follow your instructions. If you’ve tried using positive reinforcement or punishment to train your dog but they still fail to respond, it’s a sure sign that your dog is depressed.
10. Lack of Interest in Their Toys
If your dog is depressed, they will often lose interest in their toys or chew items that are not supposed to be chewable. They may become destructive if you try to take away things that they are chewing on. This is a very common sign of depression in dogs. If you’ve noticed your dog chewing on something unnatural while ignoring the things that she usually loves to play with, it’s very likely that your pup is depressed.
These signs of depression in dogs may seem very contrary to their normal behavior. If your pooch is experiencing any of these symptoms, even for a short time, it’s best to take them to the veterinarian immediately to make sure that they aren’t suffering from other serious health issues that might be contributing to their emotional state.
Thank you for reading the article.
To explore more, check out our other articles on depression in dogs.
Have you ever come across a depressed dog? Has your dog ever shown any of the signs listed above? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving us a comment below!